TANZANIA – According to recent statistics from the Bank of Tanzania (BoT), the import value of fertilizers in Tanzania surged by a staggering 155 percent, from US$237 million in the 2020/21 fiscal year to US$605.4 million in the 2022/23 fiscal year.

Despite this significant increase in import value, the volume of fertilizer imports decreased by 40 percent, from 662,868 metric tonnes in 2020 to 395,033 metric tonnes in 2021.

According to the data, one of the major contributing factors to the decline in import volume was the soaring prices of fertilizers in the global market, affecting both supply and demand.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) published these figures in the Fertilizer Statistics Overview.  

FAO collects official trade data from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and Tanzania Fertilizer Regulatory Authority (TFRA), validated by the Fertilizer Technical Working Group – Tanzania (FTWG-TAN).

While fertilizer prices have slightly eased from their early 2022 peaks, FAO reports that they remained at historically elevated levels.

The surge in fertilizer prices began amidst the Covid-19 crisis, which disrupted supply chains, and further intensified due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, since Russia is one of the world’s leading fertilizer producers and supplier.

In response to the rising costs, the Tanzanian government initiated a significant fertilizer subsidy Programme in August 2022 for the 2022/23 season, aimed at making fertilizers more affordable to farmers and boosting agriculture productivity.

According to Agriculture Minister Hussein Bashe, prices for key fertilizer types such as DAP and Urea substantially reduced under this scheme.

Mr. Bashe reported that the price for a bag of DAP dropped from 131,675/- to 70,000/-, Urea from 124,714/- to 70,000/-, CAN from 108,156/- to 60,000/-, and NPKs from 122,695/- to 70,000/-.

To ensure the effectiveness of the subsidy programme and prevent smuggling, the government introduced an online registry for farmers eligible for subsidised fertiliser. Within a month of its launch in September 2022, the registration exercise had already reached 1.3 million farmers.

Providing an update during a recent symposium, Dr. Stephan Ngailo, Executive Director of the Tanzania Fertilizer Regulatory Authority, noted that as of January 9, 2023, 194.3 tonnes of subsidised fertiliser had been purchased.  

According to Dr Ngailo, about 560,451 farmers have benefited from the new system, thanks to President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s approval of 150bn/- (US$59M) for fertiliser subsidy in the 2022/23 budget for the Ministry of Agriculture.

For all the latest grains industry news from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our weekly NEWSLETTERS, follow us on LinkedIn, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.